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dairy-free

Coconut Yogurt

TIME: 10 minutes (plus time to culture) SERVES: 1 PINT

Coconut yogurt is a satisfying treat if you have a lactose intolerance, or are trying to minimize carbs. It is very rich, so I recommend eating just a couple spoonfuls at a time—it makes a great probiotic-filled snack, or topping for Chocolate-Avocado Pudding.

*Unlike the effervescent coconut yogurt from New Earth Superfoods or GT Dave’s CocoYo, this is mild & creamy—similar to Greek yogurt.

INGREDIENTS

1 can full-fat coconut milk (I’ve found the “Classic” Native Forest brand produces a better result than the “Simple”—I assume this is due to the guar gum)
2 probiotic capsules (I use this one because it is available in the refrigerated section of my grocery store.) Avoid probiotic pills, because they need to be crushed instead of opened & emptied

METHOD

  1. If your coconut milk has separated, pour into a bowl and mix thoroughly until emulsified and creamy. This is easier at room temperature.

  2. Open the probiotic capsules, empty them into the coconut milk and stir thoroughly.

  3. Cover loosely with a small plate or clean dish towl, and let sit at room temperature in a warm, dark place for a few days, until slightly soured and thickened, stirring once or twice per day.

  4. Transfer to the fridge with a tight fitting lid to further thicken.

  5. After it has cooled, it will be incredibly thick and ready to eat! You can then add your favorite flavorings, or enjoy as is.

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Chicken Soup with Lemon & Spinach

TIME: 4 HOURS; SERVES: ~6

This whole-chicken method is super flavorful and relatively quick—perfect if you have an old stew bird lying around. I’ll put the soup on to simmer around lunch, and by dinner, all I need to do is add the greens and lemon!

INGREDIENTS

1, 3 - 4 lb. whole chicken, or chicken parts
1 large yellow onion, unpeeled & quartered
1 entire head of garlic, unpeeled & cut crosswise
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 - 4 large carrots, roughly chopped
Handful parsley, leaves (finely chopped) and stems
1 tbls. peppercorns
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Water, to cover
1 lemon, quartered
2 - 3 scallions, white and green parts trimmed & sliced
2 cups spinach
1 medium zucchini, sliced with a vegetable peeler into long, wide strips

METHOD

  1. Remove the chicken or chicken parts from the fridge an hour before cooking and sprinkle with kosher salt.

  2. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, place the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar, and 1 tbls. of kosher salt. If using a whole chicken, separate the breasts (this makes early removal from the soup much easier).

  3. Add the chicken or chicken parts and enough water to cover, about 3 quarts.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 25 minutes, until the breasts are cooked through.

  5. Remove the breasts and let cool. Remove the skin and shred the meat. Set aside.

  6. Continue cooking the soup over low for another 3 hours or so.

  7. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before straining through a colander over another pot or large bowl. Separate the dark meat from the carcass and add to the reserved breast meat.

  8. Bring the stock back to a boil, and add the zucchini, spinach, scallions, and parsley leaves. Cook for a couple minutes until the greens and zucchini are bright green. Turn off the heat and add the reserved chicken meat. Add the lemon wedges, squeezing the juice into the soup. Season to taste.

  9. Ladle into bowls. I like to top with a dollop of crème fraîche, but it is delicious on its own.

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Creamy Coconut-Broccolini Soup

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 4 - 6

This dairy-free soup is delicious in both the Spring or Fall—however, the natural sweetness of broccolini and spinach really shine after a touch of frost. In our Southeastern region of Pennsylvania, broccoli has a very short Spring growing window, since the weather quickly becomes too hot. This is one reason we choose to grow “flowering broccoli” or broccolini—the heads mature faster, and you harvest more than once off each plant.

The tender broccolini stems are especially delicious. If substituting large broccoli heads, make sure to peel the stalks before chopping, because they can be tough and fibrous. If you don’t have spinach, substitute arugula, mizuna, or other tender green—or forego the greens altogether and add more herbs!

*By swapping vegetable broth for chicken, this soup can easily be made vegan.

INGREDIENTS

4 tbls. unrefined coconut oil
1/2 tsp. each: fennel seed, black mustard seed, cumin seed, coriander seed
A dash cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 shallot or small yellow/white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 - 8 scallions or 2 leeks, trimmed & chopped
2 pounds broccolini, or 2 large heads broccoli, chopped
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1, 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk
1 quart chicken bone broth (or veggie broth, or water)
Juice from 1/2 lime, plus slices for serving
1 tbls. fish sauce (opt.)
Greek yogurt or crème fraîche, for serving (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottom soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat.

  2. Add the spices and let sizzle for a minute until fragrant.

  3. Add the alliums (onion, shallot, scallion, leek, garlic…) and broccolini. Cook, stirring often to avoid burning, until the broccolini is bright green and the alliums softened. If the seeds start to burn, add a little broth or water.

  4. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

  5. Turn the heat down to medium-low again, and add the herbs, greens, and coconut milk. Simmer until the broccolini is tender and the greens are wilted.

  6. Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly, then carefully transfer in batches to a high-powered blender, or use an immersion blender.

  7. Return to the pot and add the fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Adjust seasonings.

  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with optional Greek yogurt or crème fraîche. Serve with extra lime slices.

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Smashed Persian Cucumbers with Sesame & Ginger

TIME: 20 MINUTES, SERVES: 4
Adapted from Bon Appetit

Persian cucumbers have become very popular among our customers and chefs. Their small size and thin skins make them perfect for easy snacking or quick prep. They are surprisingly sweet and crunchy, while still retaining a refreshing, cucumber flavor.

Smashing cucumbers (my new alt. rock band name) is fun! It is also a great way to involve kids in the kitchen. But it’s not just about fun and games—the craggy edges have more surface area for seasonings, packing every mouthful full of flavor.

INGREDIENTS

5 - 6 small, Persian cucumbers
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts sliced
2 tbls. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
2 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted (a mix of white and black are nice)
Chili oil, to taste (look for a brand without additives or MSG—just chilies and oil preferably—or make your own!)

METHOD

  1. Tear cucumbers into bite size pieces.

  2. Place the cucumbers plus 1 tsp. kosher salt in a colander, and let drain for 10 minutes.

  3. Place sesame seeds in a small pan and toast until they start to pop, about 3 - 5 minutes. Stir to avoid burning, and remove from heat.

  4. Transfer the cucumbers to a medium bowl and add rice wine vinegar and grated ginger. Toss to coat and adjust seasoning.

  5. Transfer cucumbers to a serving dish, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and drizzle with chili oil.

Cauliflower Steaks & Purée with Pistachio-Caper Relish

TIME: 45; MINUTES SERVES: 2 - 4
Adapted from Ottolenghi & Bon Appetit

This dish is surprisingly simple, and incredibly impressive as a vegetarian entrée or side dish—a wonderful option if you are wanting to whip up a fancy, plant-based dinner. The caramelized cauliflower steaks are beautiful plated over the purée, and the relish is the perfect mix of salt, fat, acid & crunch.

Yotam Ottolenghi knows how to transform the humble cauliflower into a centerpiece. His original recipe calls for anchovies and egg yolk in the purée, and walnuts in place of pistachios. As always, feel free to adjust to your liking.

INGREDIENTS

Relish
1/3 cup raw pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. capers, drained
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes or 1/2 hot pepper, seeded and minced
3 tbls. parsley, chopped
1 tbls. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 small shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, grated
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1 medium head cauliflower
1 clove garlic, grated
1 - 2 tbls. lemon juice
2 tbls. olive oil or butter/ghee, plus 1 tbls. for frying
2+ tbls. water or cream
1 salt-packed anchovy filet, rinsed & cleaned (opt.)
3 - 4 strips lemon zest
1/2 tsp. each za’atar and nigella seeds (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Spread pistachios on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant & golden brown, 5 - 7 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop & set aside. Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

  3. Heat olive oil and capers in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until capers are golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Pour oil and capers into a small bowl to cool.

  4. When the caper-oil mixture is slightly cooled, mix in pistachios, chili (flakes or fresh), parsley, vinegar, shallot, garlic, and lemon zest. Season with salt and black pepper. Set relish aside. *This can be made a few hours, or up to a day in advance.

  5. For the cauliflower: Remove the tough outer leaves from cauliflower, leaving any tender inner leaves. Trim stem to create a flat base (careful not to over-trim—you’ll need a base to hold the steaks together), and rinse if dirty. Cut cauliflower in half from top to bottom, creating two lobes. From the cut-edge of each lobe, slice a 1-inch “steak” (the stem should hold the florets together), resulting in 2 similar-sized steaks. Very coarsely chop remaining florets & leaves.

  6. Boil enough salted water to cover the florets in a large saucepan, and cook until very tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and purée in a food processor with garlic, lemon juice, 2 tbls. olive oil or butter/ghee, water or cream (to thin), and optional anchovy until very smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple times. Season with salt and more lemon if necessary, and set aside.

  7. Heat 1 tbls. butter/ghee in a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower steaks and lemon zest (tucking the strips into the lobes to avoid burning). Cook until steaks are deep golden brown. Flip over and season with salt.

  8. Transfer skillet to the oven and roast until cauliflower stems are fork-tender, about 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove cauliflower and sprinkle with optional nigella seed & za’atar. If the steaks are not softened at this point, add a couple tbls. water and return pan to oven for another 5 - 7 minutes.

  9. To serve, spoon cauliflower purée onto a platter and arrange steaks on top. Spoon relish over and sprinkle with salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

Roasted Nut or Seed Milk

TIME: 20 - 30 MINUTES (not including soaking time); SERVES: 3 1/2 CUPS
Adapted from Julia Turshen’s, ‘Small Victories‘

Even if you don’t have a lactose allergy, this “milk” is delicious in both hot or iced drinks. You can use any nut or seed you prefer, but like Julia Turshen, I’m a big fan of hazelnuts. Feel free to add different flavorings as well: a bit of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, and some of your favorite sweetener makes a yummy Horchata-esque beverage, or a delicious base for chai and coffee drinks. Roasted and pressed nut milks are traditional in many cultures; I encourage you to experiment with nuts/seeds that can be grown locally & organically in your region.

*Rather than purchasing roasted nuts, look for raw nuts that have been kept in cool temperatures—a rancid, roasted nut is one of the worst kitchen surprises.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw nuts or seeds of choice (hazelnut, almond, pumpkin, etc.)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Spread the nuts/seeds on a baking sheet and roast until browned—but not burnt—and fragrant, about 12 minutes (8 minutes for seeds). If you hear them popping, give them a quick stir.

  3. Transfer toasted nuts/seeds to a quart jar and add enough water to cover by at least 1” (the nuts will soak up the liquid). Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

  4. Drain the nuts/seeds and discard the liquid. Place in a blender with 4 cups fresh, cold water and process on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.

  5. Drain the nuts/seeds in a “nut milk bag” or cheese bag over a bowl. (Pro-tip: tie and let hang from your kitchen faucet—it can take a while to strain). Squeeze out the remaining liquid by twisting the bag from the top down. Compost the leftover nutmeat or spread outside for the squirrels.

  6. Add optional seasonings at this point. Keep in a quart jar in the fridge, and drink either warmed or iced. Shake well before use.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pressed Hazelnut Milk

Pressed Hazelnut Milk

Roasted Hazelnuts

Roasted Hazelnuts

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte

Cinnamon-Hazelnut Latte